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March 8, 2024

Major Leaderboard Logjam Entering Weekend at Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard

ORLANDO, Fla. – There’s a logjam at the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, and those occupying the top spots have plenty of major championship pedigree.
Among the six players tied for the lead at 7-under-par 137 are major winners Brian Harman (2023 Open Championship), Wyndham Clark (2023 U.S. Open), Scottie Scheffler (2022 Masters), Hideki Matsuyama (2021 Masters) and Shane Lowry (2019 Open Championship). Also in that group is world No. 29 Russell Henley, a four-time PGA TOUR winner who would like nothing more than to hold off a quintet of the world’s best to take home the red cardigan.
“Of course I get excited to see my name at the top of the leaderboard,” said Scottie Scheffler, the 2022 API champion, after a back nine that included an eagle and three birdies. “There’s a lot of names up at the top of the leaderboard right now. It’s pretty stacked going into the weekend. I’m proud of how I finished today to give myself a good chance.”
Clark’s 66 was the low round Friday on a day when course conditions tested the elite field of players competing in the PGA TOUR’s fourth Signature Event of the 2024 season. The course at Bay Hill Club & Lodge played firm and fast, making birdies hard to come by and setting expectations for the weekend.
“I mean, honestly, I bet you if I shot even par I would be in the top five and have a chance to win,” Clark said. “Tomorrow’s supposed to have some wind and be hot, so it’s going to get firmer and faster, which it’s already doing, into the greens, so even par tomorrow would be fantastic. Then it looks like maybe a little rain on Sunday, so it might ease up. But, yeah, I mean, right now, if you said, ‘Hey, you shoot 3-under on the weekend,’ I would take it, because I think that would have a really good chance on the last couple holes.”
Added Harman: “(This course) has whipped me pretty good, but it’s a place where, if you take on some spots off the tee, you can have some short clubs in. That’s just been my plan this week, try to take on what I can, and try to use what little advantage I have.”
Lowry is bidding to become just the third wire-to-wire winner in the tournament’s history, joining Fred Couples (1992) and Jason Day (2016).
“I played well these last two days,” Lowry said. “I feel like I probably should have shot better than 1-under today. I’ll take it. If you had asked me at the start of the day, I probably would have taken it. I’m pretty happy to be where I am right now. Obviously, look, there’s no trophies given out today, so I’ll just dig in over the weekend and see where it leads me come Sunday.”
With challenging conditions, the day’s only bogey-free rounds belonged to Will Zalatoris – who enters the weekend one stroke off the lead – and Stephan Jaeger, two strokes back and tied with Emiliano Grillo for eighth. Two-time major winner Justin Thomas is among a group of seven players tied for 10th and three strokes behind the leaders.
“At Bay Hill, every day always gets harder, no matter what year. I saw that the rain’s going away on Sunday, so we’re going to expect it to get firmer and faster,” Zalatoris said. “The last couple holes I blew putts from about 30 to 40 feet about six, seven feet by. That’s just the adjustments you have to make out here. When you’re below the hole try and take advantage, and when you’re above the hole just be patient.”
Fifty-eight players in the limited field of 69 golfers made the cut.


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